December 18, 2006
Contact: PJ Callahan
Phone: (360) 337-4481
County Administrator Accepts New Post in Minnesota
Gears, Kitsap County administrator and former county parks director, will be
leaving his current position at the end of February to return to his home
state, where he will take the helm of the Three Rivers Park District,
Minnesota's largest regional park system.
"This unexpected offer from
the Three Rivers Board is truly a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity for
someone who is still a 'parks guy' at heart," said Gears. "Although my wife,
Donna, and I love living and working in Kitsap County, I was eventually
unable to overlook the opportunity to lead this world-class park system."
be leaving a position he has held since
the Board of County
Commissioners selected him as county administrator in February 2005. Under
broad policy direction from the board, the county administrator serves as
the chief administrative officer of the county and direct manager for
departments reporting to the board, including Community Development, Public
Works, Personnel and Human Services, Administrative Services, Information
Services and Facilities, Parks and Recreation.
Since arriving in Kitsap
in 1998 to serve as the county's director of Facilities, Parks and
Recreation, Gears has been recognized as the driving force behind many
county projects and service improvement initiatives.
"Cris played a key
leadership role in acquiring unique open spaces to ensure that future
generations would enjoy the county’s bountiful natural resources and scenic
beauty," said Commissioner Chris Endresen. "Cris has been a marvelous asset
to Kitsap County. I know this is a dream position for Cris, but it is really
hard to lose him.”
In his facilities role, Gears provided oversight of major county
construction initiatives, supervising project managers on various projects
such as the new Public Works Annex, new county Administration Building and
renovation of the aging County Courthouse.
"Cris was also
instrumental in updating aging county facilities," said Commissioner Patty
Lent. "Without his efforts in creating and fostering a partnership with the
Kitsap Public Facilities District to enable us to capture state revenues, we
would not have been able to transform the county fairgrounds into a
year-round, first-class events center for sports and entertainment. I will
miss his calming demeanor and effervescent sense of humor."
Even after leaving his
parks position, Gears remained a steadfast supporter of the Kitsap Fair and
Stampede, where he had hired professional event planners to boost attendance
and set goals to make it self-supporting. During his tenure, the stampede
was selected for two years running as the Best Rodeo in the Columbia River
Circuit and, more recently, was twice nominated as Rodeo of the Year by the
"Cris always looked
for better, faster or less expensive ways to provide service to the public,
such as consolidating facilities and park maintenance functions to enhance
efficiency without reducing service levels." said Commissioner Jan Angel.
"But what I'll miss most about him is that he consistently helped the board
to focus on high priorities and the things that matter most to the citizens
of Kitsap, and always with a wonderful, positive attitude. I will miss him
Rivers is a multi-county 27,000-acre regional park system that
environmental stewardship through recreation and education
in the western portion of
the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
serve as the Superintendent of the District, providing leadership to an
organization with 350 regular employees and approximately 1,300 seasonal
employees. Three Rivers has an annual operating budget of $36.8 million and
a current annual capital budget of $23.6 million.
Gears originally came to
Kitsap County through a national search in 1998, leaving his home state of
Minnesota where he had served in the capacity of Director of Parks and
Recreation for the City of St. Louis Park (1988-1998) and prior to that as
City Manager for the City of Excelsior (1985 to 1988).